NYC Events,”Only the Best” (07/14) + Today’s Featured Pub (Greenwich Village)

Today’s Elite 8  NYC Events > FRIDAY/JULY 14, 2017

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.
For future NYC Events be sure to check the tab above: “Notable NYC Events-July”

Have time for only one NYC Event today? Do this:

Prime Time: A Reunion
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center/ 8PM, $35–$75
“Inspired, perhaps, by Miles Davis, jazz visionary Ornette Coleman formed the band Prime Time in 1976 as a funky electric extension of his decentered “harmolodic” theory of music. Prime Time’s doubled guitars, basses, and drums created a divine chaos, a caterwaul of sound as jubilantly unhinged and uninhibited as its creator. Coleman’s spirit abides in “Prime Time: A Reunion,” the climax of a four-part Lincoln Center Festival tribute to the saxophonist, who died in 2015. Prime Time members Charlie Ellerbe (guitar), Jamaaladeen Tacuma (bass), Dave Bryant (keyboards), and Denardo Coleman (drums) join guests Wallace Roney (trumpet), Badal Roy (tabla), and saxophonists Joshua Redman, Kidd Jordan, and David Murray, to perform 1995’s Tone Dialing, and Dancing in Your Head, the band’s exultant 1976 debut.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)


7 OTHER TOP NYC EVENTS TODAY (see below for full listing)
>>Christine Andreas: Piaf—No Regrets
>>Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski
>>Gong Linna + Bang on a Can All-Stars
>>Conrad Herwig’s “Latin Side Of…”
>>Monty Alexander’s Junkanoo Swing
>>French Restaurant Week  


Music, Dance, Performing Arts

at Smoke Jazz Club / 7, 9 and 10:30PM, $40
“Mr. Evans, a Philadelphia-based pianist, makes a minefield out of the typical postbop form — impishly twisting up a song’s flow or washing out the harmonies with big, dissonant chords. “Liberation Blues,” the 2014 album he recorded live at Smoke, is a master class in outside-the-box bluesiness and ear-catching contemporary composition. He appears here with the front line from that recording, although with a different rhythm section: Sean Jones on trumpet, J. D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Ben Wolfe on bass, and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums.” (NYT – GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO)

Christine Andreas: Piaf—No Regrets
54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 7PM, $50
“Broadway leading lady Andreas could coast on her pure, silvery soprano, but she is also a strong storyteller who knows how to dip beneath the pretty surfaces. In her new show, she pays homage to great French songbird Edith Piaf, putting her own stamp on such classic chansons as “La Vie en Rose,” “Hymne à L’Amour,” “Milord” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.”” (TONY)

TAP CITY (through July 15).
The Appel Room, B’way & 60th St./ 7PM, $75
“This annual celebration of tap dance wraps up this weekend, with two events. In “Tap Ellington,” at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the American Tap Dance Foundation and its artistic and executive director, Tony Waag, pay tribute to Duke Ellington. The program, featuring the Duke Ellington Center’s Big Band, conducted by Eli Yamin, features performances by Brenda Bufalino, Ayodele Casel, Mercedes Ellington, Caleb Teicher, Sarah Reich, Sam Weber, New American Tap Orchestra, and the brother-and-sister team of Josette and Joseph Wiggan. Saturday at 5 p.m., Symphony Space provides the setting for “Tap Future,” an informal showcase featuring students of all ages.” (NYT-GIA KOURLAS)

Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski (July 14-15)
Jazz at Kitano, 66 Park Ave., at 38th St./ 8PM, +10PM, $32
“When it comes to extraordinarily gifted musicians like the pianist Hyman and the clarinettist and saxophonist Peplowski—men who can tackle any idiomatic jazz you might throw at them—the term “traditionalist” seems a tad limiting. Yet both of these virtuosos exhibit a remarkable fluency with early jazz and swing styles. Though Hyman is Peplowski’s elder by a few decades, these musical soul mates seem to have been born to duet with each other.” (NewYorker)

Gong Linna + Bang on a Can All-Stars
Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College / 8PM, $15–$25
“Classically trained Chinese singer Gong Linna’s exquisitely odd 2010 TV performance of Lao Luo’s wordless “Tan Te” made her an overnight sensation. It also led to a flamboyant appearance at the 2015 Bang on a Can Marathon and an album, Cloud River Mountain, which she’ll perform with the Bang on a Can All-Stars as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. Along with Lao Luo (Gong’s German composer-husband, whose given name is Robert Zollitsch), BOAC’s Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolf wrote music that blends the Bangers’ high-octane minimalism with classical Chinese poet Qu Yuan’s nature-reverent verses. While Gong’s affinity with Björk is apparent, the Chinese singer wears her heart much less obviously on her flowing sleeves. She’s a more distanced diva, rooted in China’s deeply coded folk culture, and she can take you far away.” (Richard Gehr, Village Voice)

Conrad Herwig’s “Latin Side Of…” (July 13-18.)
Jazz Standard, 116 E. 27th St./ 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $30
“In the view of the trombonist Herwig, applying Latin rhythms and tonal coloring to any great jazz composition can only add lustre. In the course of a compact engagement, Herwig and company will spice up the iconic work of Joe Henderson, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and John Coltrane.” (NewYorker)

Monty Alexander’s Junkanoo Swing (July 12-16)
Dizzy’s Club / 7:30PM, +9:30PM, $35
“With pianist Monty Alexander, bassist Hassan Shakur, drummer Obed Calvaire, electric bassist Joshua Thomas, guitarist Andy Bassford, drummer/percussionist Karl Wright, and special guests to be announced.

In a career spanning five decades, pianist Monty Alexander has built a reputation by exploring and bridging the worlds of American jazz, popular song, and the music of his native Jamaica. In the process, he has performed and recorded with artists from every corner of the musical universe and entertainment world, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Ernest Ranglin, Barbara Hendricks, Bobby McFerrin, Sly Dunbar, and Robbie Shakespeare. Combining classic, swinging jazz with the rhythms and vibrations of Jamaica, Alexander always makes good on his promise to “get everybody moving below the waist.”

Smart Stuff / Other NYC Events
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other)

No smart stuff today, too much good music happening. Come back tomorrow for more smart stuff events – “only the best.”

Let’s not forget these marvelous continuing events:

French Restaurant Week  (thru July 16)
“Can’t make it to Paris this summer? Do the next best thing and eat like a Parisian in your own city. Part of a full slate of Bastille Week festivities, the annual French Restaurant Week is an opportunity to taste your way through some of the city’s best bistros and brasseries. Special prix-fixe menus will be available at dinner (and at lunch, at some locations) at dozens of spots across the area, including Le Cirque and La Sirene (in Manhattan) and Bar Omar (in Brooklyn). Three menu options may be available at each: $17.89, $38, or $178.90. At Les Halles, for instance, they forgo the top-price option but offer a glass of wine and a choice of housemade pork confit spread or merguez au couscous for $17.89; for $38 there, you can pick an appetizer (salad or garlic-butter roasted escargots), an entreé (coq au vin or roast trout in a lemon-caper sauce), along with a glass of wine. It’s enough to make you say oh là là.” (Mary Bakija, VillageVoice)

New York Asian Film Festival (thru July 16)
“Catch more than 50 new films, including blockbusters, art films and beautiful historical dramas, plus appearances from more than 20 international filmmakers at this 17-day festival. This year’s stellar lineup, which features films hailing from Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia, features films like Chinese romance Soul Mate on July 7, fantastical Japanese drama Vanishing Time: a Boy Who Returned on July 13, and wraps with the U.S. premiere of Jung Byung-gil’s acclaimed assassin film, The Villainess, on July 16.” (TONY)

Bonus NYC Events – Music Venues:
So much fine live music every night in this town. These are my favorite non jazz music venues on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who’s playing tonight:

City Winery – 155 Varick St.,, 212-608-0555
Feinstein’s/54 Below – 254 W54th St.,, 646-476-3551
Joe’s Pub @ Public Theater – 425 Lafayette St.,, 212-967-7555
Metropolitan Room – 34W22ndSt., metropolitan, 212-206-0440
Beacon Theatre – 2124 Broadway @ 74th St.,, 212-465-6500
Town Hall – 123 W43rd St.,, 212-997-6661
B.B. King’s Blues Bar – 237W42nd St.,, 212-997-2144
Bowery Ballroom – 6 Delancey St.,
Le Poisson Rouge – 158 Bleecker St.,, 212-505-3474

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St., 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening discovery and enjoyment.
See Below.

♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 60 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2017.  Quality shows draw crowds.
Try to reserve seats for these top NYC events in advance, even if just on day of performance.
NYCity Vacation Travel Guide Video (Expedia):

A PremierPub and 3 Good Eating Places – Greenwich Village

Caffe Vivaldi / 32 Jones Street (btw. Bleecker St./W4th St.)

Café Vivaldi is a classic, intimate club located in Greenwich Village on Jones Street, the street featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s second album, “Freewheelin’. ”

maxresdefaultEach night Ishrat, the long time proprietor and impresario, carefully curates and schedules an eclectic series of musicians. You can often see him at his table in the corner, hard at work reviewing music videos and listening to cd demos on his laptop, scouting out future bookings. Musicians come from all over to play and sing in a club in Greenwich Village. Some are local New Yorkers, others are just passing through, in town for a few days.

There is a small bar, seating maybe 10. It’s close to the stage and I find it’s a perfect spot to sip a glass of red wine while listening to the music. The room itself has the performance area at one end and a cozy fireplace at the other. The performance area here is small, dominated by a large black Yamaha Grand piano. Tables are bunched together and most people at the tables are eating lite meals or sampling the wonderful desserts.

There is also a good selection of fairly priced wines,  but you are here because of the music. You can never be quite sure what you’re going to find, and that’s half the charm of this place. It’s not a home run every night, but many nights it’s pretty special.

I remember the night I saw the most talented bossa nova group, just in from San Paulo. As I listened, I wondered if there was any better music playing anywhere else in New York City that night. And at Caffé Vivaldi there is never a cover charge. Their recently redesigned web site does give you a better idea of the type of music playing each night.

At one time Greenwich Village was filled with clubs just like this, but times change. Real estate interests have impacted the village, and not for the better. Even Caffé Vivaldi had a rough time recently, when a new landlord raised the rent exorbitantly. Fortunately, Ishrat has built a loyal following over the years, and a fund raiser and slightly more reasonable rent has kept Café Vivaldi in business.

When Woody Allen and Al Pacino wanted to make movies featuring the timeless quality of Greenwich Village they came to Vivaldi. It’s important that we keep this special place alive, for if we lose Cafe Vivaldi, NYCity will have lost a piece of it’s soul.

Phone #: (212) 691-7538
Hours: Music generally 7:30PM – 11PM, but varies
Lunch/Dinner 11AM-on
Subway: #1 to Christopher St.
Walk 1 blk S. on 7th ave S. to Bleecker St., 1 blk left on Bleecker to Jones St., 50 yards left on Jones St. to Caffe V.
“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge.

If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.

3 Good Eating places

It’s not difficult to find a place to eat in Manhattan.
Finding a good, inexpensive place to eat is a bit harder.
Here are a few of my faves in this neighborhood:

Fish – 280 Bleecker St. (just a bit S. of 7th ave South)
This was an easy pick – the best raw bar special in town. $9 gets you 6 of the freshest oysters or clams + a glass of wine or beer. Don’t know how they can do it, but I tell everyone I know about this place. And it’s located right in the heart of some of the best no cover music in town.

Bleecker Street Pizza – 69 7th ave S. (corner of Bleecker St.)
The place is tiny and not much to look at, but this is one good slice. They like to brag that they have been voted “Best pizza in NY” 3 years in a row by the Food Network. I believe them. I would have voted for them.

Num Pang – 21 E 12th St. (btw. University Place/5th ave.)
This is a Cambodian banh mi sandwich shop that kept me well fed while I was in class nearby recently. It’s cramped, even for NYCity, but usually there is room up the spiral staircase to sit down and eat. In good weather carry your sandwich a few blocks to Union Square park. You may have to wait a few minutes, because everything is freshly made, but it’s worth it. Can you believe – an unheard of 26 food rating by Zagat.

“3 Good Eating places” focuses on a quick bite, what I call “Fine Fast Food – NYCity Style”
No reservations needed.
NYCity is the most diverse and interesting place to find a meal anywhere in the world. With more than 24,000 eating establishments you might welcome some advice.

◊ For all my picks of 54 Good Eating places, and essays on my favorite 18 PremierPubs in 9 Neighborhoods on Manhattan’s WestSide, order a copy of my e-book:
“Eating and Drinking on NYCity’s WestSide” ($4.99, available Fall 2017).
◊ Order before Aug. 31, 2017 and receive a bonus – 27 of my favorite casual dining places with free Wi-Fi.

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